Jacob, Z. Hess, Ph.D.
Stop pretending your friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters with serious questions about prevailing COVID-19 policies are simply selfish, ignorant, or dishonest. As gratifying as that might feel to those of you frustrated over their dissent, it’s simply not an honest or fair position to take – at least, not if you intend to represent the full scope of people’s motives. If you’re open to it, there’s another way to explain much of the public resistance, in a way that doesn’t misrepresent the experience of those who continue to maintain it.
David Brooks wrote recently suggesting that people hesitant to go along with the program and get vaccinated (or mask up) demonstrate an insufficient trust and willingness to “sacrifice for the common good” and support “collective action.” Jay Evertsen similarly argued in recent days that hesitancy around wearing masks among those who have opted out of the vaccine largely reflects a question of “basic honesty of Americans” – hinting that those resistant to these measures are perpetuating at least some “sort of lie.”
Many others have insisted that those harboring such skepticism for prevailing public health guidelines are willingly ignorant – even hostile to – “the science” and the common knowledge they see as indubitable and obvious.
Ignorance. Dishonesty. And selfishness.
That’s about the extent of many people’s conceptions regarding what’s behind the skepticism significant portions of America feels towards prevailing medical dictates. And it baffles me, to be frank, that so many of these same people struggle to imagine any other explanations for resistance.
In a post near the beginning of this series I summarized Armstong’s views of Jesus Christ and Christianity. Go back and read that post if you need to. In this post I’m going to touch about my concerns with her presentation here.
One Sided Unknowning is Actually A Special Case of Knowing
First, I note that for someone whose whole religious practice is built on “unknowing” that there doesn’t seem to be the slightest bit of “unknowing” when it comes to Jesus Christ. She is completely certain that He only taught that he was a non-unique son of God in the same sense that we all are. She is completely certain that He was not ‘bodily resurrected’ but that rather people just saw visions of Him. She is completely certain that He would have been in favor of self-emptying and her apophatic method. No other possibility is considered or discussed at all.
This ‘certainty’ that Armstrong easily asserts when necessary brings up a larger issues: Theological Liberals of the Armstrong variety seem to only believe in their beliefs when it’s convenient. Unknowing is only exalted right up to the point that it encourages their own beliefs. If it ever doesn’t, then ‘certainty’ becomes okay after all. Likewise, ‘not having the final word about God’ is only true if you mean everyone else but Armstrong-like Liberals. They really do have the final word on several subjects, namely all the ones they care about and that their religious beliefs are anchored on. So in this sense, they aren’t really different from their ‘conservative’ counterparts. Armstrong really does act as if she believes she gets the ‘final say’ when it comes to Jesus Christ. Continue reading
Wally: I’m Wally Cronkquist and that popping noise you just heard ring round the world is the sound of 250 million corks simultaneously celebrating the passage of the Truth in Politics Act. Only two years ago the controversial “Referendum Amendment” passed, allowing individual citizens the right to create their own bills and put them on a national voting ballot. The Truth in Politics Act is the first use of this new process.
With me is Chuck Sneadman, political professor from Harvard, here to explain the new law.
Chuck: Well, Wally, it’s quite simple, really. From this point forward, all politicians are required to receive a chip implanted in their brain that gives them an electric shock every time they try to either lie or spin the truth. At last all political problems will be solved because only honest politicians will stay in power!